Learn Do Share


Learn Do Share
is an open space for collaboration, design fiction & social innovation. It is
 an internationally roving event for those who create, built around sharing ideas and resources that help move inspiration to action. The three words LEARN, DO and SHARE embody a philosophy: we learn from everyone, we do by prototyping, we share what we learn. The events and labs are gatherings for ad-hoc groups to meet, ideate and work out concepts for a common good. I have been lucky enough to have contributed to designing two different programs within Learn Do Share and am thrilled to join the team that developed this year's event for Learn Do Share Paris, Story Next.

Check out the "Story Next" conferences here (in French):

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS

 
WANTED: Storytellers, game designers, makers, hackers and others who want to reimagine the world of Sherlock Holmes.

From the moment I first saw this, there was no looking back! Sherlock Holmes & the Internet of Things is an ongoing prototype developed and run by the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab that explores new forms and functions of story. Designed to be an open R&D space that experiments with shifts in authorship and ownership of stories, the massive collaboration also uses a detective narrative to examine the policy and ethical issues surrounding the Internet of Things. The goal? To build a massive globally connected crime scene consisting of smart storytelling objects.

I am proud not only to have participated in the global event that connected Lincoln Center with more than twelve other countries, but to also have added my bit to the prototype by developing an augmented reality "magnifying glass" with Aurasma that was integrated into the experience here in Paris. 

But what is the prototype, you ask? This Huffington Post article article really sums it up perfectly. I'll just quote a bit here so you can understand how the experience works: "...the first step is for a group to tape out the outline of a body. 

Multiple groups do this at once. Then the groups come together and--like strangers on a train--they swap murders. Well, bodies in this case. The second group comes in and puts down a series of objects--or in the really stripped down version post-it notes with the names of objects on them--around the outline. 

Then the first group comes back and--Sherlock style--devises the story of how all the pieces come together to describe the murder. It's a mystery game where the identity of the killer isn't known at the outset, and the goal isn't to solve the mystery so much as it is to come up with the coolest explanation of the crime scene."

Sherlockiot prototype

As we geared up for the globally connected event in late October, we decided that an augmented reality magnifying glass would fit right into the world of Sherlock and give our participants here in Paris a taste of what it would be like to have a "connected" object providing them with additional clues. For this new iteration of the experience, we changed the process slightly. After taping out their bodies, participants placed evidence tags around the crime scenes and then examined the "evidence" through their "magnifying glass", the Aurasma app. 

The result was an unqualified success! Well worth the long process of trial and error that it took for me to actually program the whole thing! Here's my test. It gives you an idea of what the participants could see... 

I can't even begin to tell you how much fun this was to play with! It's very simple for just about anyone to use. If you'd like to know more and/or do it yourself, I've put together a "How To" that you can find below. 

DIY DAYS PARIS

In 2014, I was asked to conduct a workshop on immersive, interactive theater for the first Paris edition of Learn Do Share, the Paris Diy Days. My workshop was supposed to be part of the "do" sessions and it was a real puzzle trying to determine how to allow the audience to actively participate in a workshop when a.) they would all be sitting passively in an amphitheater and b.) I couldn't know ahead of time how many people would be attending. Not to mention that the whole thing - presentation, workshop and all - was supposed to happen in only one hour!

I really wanted everyone to be able to have an interactive experience, while collaboratively designing an interactive event. Since Diy Days has a strong transmedia bent, I suspected that everyone else would be at least as "geeky" as I am, if not more so... an app, therefore, could be just the thing! I ended up adapting YAPP to my purposes in order to facilitate the brainstorming. It also allowed me to leave participants with my presentation, as well as to create a playlist of immersive and interactive theater video examples.

The workshop itself was lots of fun if, as anticipated, waaaaaaay to short. But the app worked like a charm and the participants brainstormed and came up with a great concept for a modern day re-telling of the Jeckyll and Hyde story that takes place in the Paris Métro, incorporating retro-projections on the windows, smartphone interactivity and a digital personification of the evil Mr. Hyde. Here's the pitch:

8PM. A Metro stop in Paris... You climb aboard a train and find yourself plunged into the heart of an immersive story of love, betrayal and the eternal battle between good and evil. As the Metro stations race by, one of the passengers, a young woman, is found murdered. Another passenger, a certain Dr. Jeckyll, gives you your first clue. Now it's up to YOU to find the murderer before he strikes again!

I went on to run this workshop several more times outside of Learn Do Share, and each time the participants collaborated to come up with completely different concepts. The app definitely helps to generate a playful atmosphere that really gets everyone's creative juices flowing! For those who are interested:
  • My presentation in English is HERE
  • Ma présentation en français est ICI
  • My playlist of immersive and interactive theater is HERE
  • And if you'd like the whole kit and kaboodle of developing the workshop, including the kitchen sink, my Storify is HERE
P.S. The above image is an excerpt from the book that was published after the 2014 Learn Do Share event in Paris. This "fieldbook", as well as others from around the world, can be found HERE.